Life Of Agony @ Starland Ballroom

SAYREVILLE, NJ—River Runs Red from Life Of Agony came out in 1993, when hair metal was on the way out when grunge was slowly infesting the metal scene. However there were some bands that were dominating the underground scene that didn’t fall in either of those categories. White Zombie, Pantera, Type O Negative and Clutch, to name a few. And during this time, Life Of Agony released an album that will forever be in just about every metal fan’s album collection.

Throughout Life Of Agony’s career, although their hardcore fans and new fans welcomed their music, nothing really stuck out like the River Runs Red album. Whenever they used to perform songs off this album, the excitement and energy of the shows seemed to shift to an immense level. I think it can equate to the Master Of Puppets album from Metallica. Whenever they play a song live off that album, or even the Ride The Lightening album, it feels like the lights just went out and there’s mass hysteria everywhere.

When the news broke about Life Of Agony performing River Runs Red in its entirety at Starland Ballroom, the fact that tickets sold out in just minutes should come as no surprise. It was the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, which seems to always be a good weekend for attendance at shows. During the setup for Life Of Agony all that was revealed was the band’s logo on a big banner. I could hear different people talking to eachother about how they think the performance will go, if they will even play the excerpts between songs that are on the actual album. There was also people at the show that have never seen Life Of Agony so their friends were telling them about how monumental this album was. And just as I anticipated, it was pure chaos once the lights went out. And the show started with “This Time,” just like the album. The band didn’t even talk to the audience until the fourth song in—they were absorbing the energy of that crammed room.

In true LOA form, in-between every few songs Keith asked the fans to take it easy in the pit and help eachother out. The band were named in a lawsuit, which was later dropped, where a fan died after stage diving during the band’s set, and then died. In-between songs people were yelling “Joey Z” and random songs from the album, even though it was pretty obvious the band would get to all those songs. The moshing and crowd surfing was not only to be expected, but accessorized an amazing Saturday night show with one of the pioneers of the ‘90s hardcore metal scene. I could see a Life Of Agony show like that every week!